Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says, based on current population estimates, the Bainimarama government lifted nearly 100,000 Fijians out of poverty.
Sayed-Khaiyum was responding to a question from Member of Parliament, Alvick Maharaj, who had asked for an update on the recent revisions to the 2019/2020 poverty rates by the World Bank and the Fiji Bureau of Statistics.
Fiji’s national poverty rate for 2019/20 is now estimated at 24.1 percent, compared to 29.9 percent previously recorded.
He says the World Bank recently detected a discrepancy in the coding during a cross-check exercise.
The Minister says this improved figure does not mean Fiji is out of poverty however, a good number of the population are out of the trap.
“Mr. Speaker, Sir, 100,000 Fijians and this is the result of the nine years of growth that they don’t understand. Mr Speaker Sir, lifting 100,000 Fijians out of poverty is no small feat. It is the direct result of the nine years of consecutive economic growth and various empowerment initiative like free education. ”
Sayed-Khaiyum has also dismissed claims that the government negotiated with the World Bank to bring down the figures.
“How can we do that? It is so out of this world.” Hon Gavoka says Which world do you live in? Which world do we live in to say that I can go from Fiji, a country of less than a million people to go to the World Bank and say hey guys just change the figures. It’s so incredulous. “
He says the revised figures confirm that the policies of the FijiFirst government are working.